Picture: Facebook

London - A British expat was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of murdering her husband at their luxury villa on a Malaysian holiday island.

Samantha Jones, 51, is accused of fatally stabbing husband John, 62, with a 12in kitchen knife during an argument.

Police were called to the property in the early hours after neighbours heard the row and officers found Mr Jones’s body in a pool of blood with a stab wound to his chest. A bloodied knife was found in the couple’s bedroom and Mrs Jones was arrested.

Police chief Mohamad Iqbal said: ‘We have arrested the wife of a British citizen at the scene and seized a knife used by a suspect to stab her husband.

‘The couple were believed to have engaged in an argument. The wife then took a knife from the kitchen and stabbed her husband in the chest.’

Under current laws, Mrs Jones will be sentenced to hang if she is found guilty of murdering her husband. Murder carries a mandatory death sentence in Malaysia, although there are plans for it to be abolished.

Mrs Jones was taken by ferry to the city of Alor Setar on the mainland yesterday afternoon and appeared before magistrates, who remanded her in custody for six days. She was led into court with her hands cuffed behind her by a plain-clothed policewoman. Witnesses said she appeared in shock.

Mrs Jones was later escorted from the court lock-up area and taken to the city’s Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital mortuary to identify her husband’s body, which is being held there for a post-mortem examination.

The couple, who were married in Yeovil in 2001, emigrated from the village of Martock in Somerset to the tropical island of Langkawi in north-west Malaysia 11 years ago. They had been granted residency under the nation’s My Second Home programme, which allows people to stay beyond normal visa periods.

Mr Jones is a former fireman who was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, and has three brothers and a sister. He has a son and a daughter from his first marriage and several grandchildren who still live in the UK.

Mrs Jones was born in the Welsh town of Bridgend and is thought to have two sisters and a brother. Shortly after arriving in Malaysia, Mr Jones proudly posted pictures of their sprawling villa – which has an outdoor swimming pool and a sundeck – on social media.

The couple appeared to have been popular with other expats living on Langkawi, which has a population of around 70,000.

The jungle-clad island attracts millions of tourists annually to its palm-fringed beaches. It is part of an archipelago of islands in the Andaman Sea, some 18 miles off the coast of Malaysia.

In 1989, English drug runner Derrick Gregory was hanged in Malaysia after being caught with a pound of heroin at Penang airport. He was bound for Los Angeles via Singapore and claimed he was forced to smuggle the drugs by organised crime bosses.

He was convicted despite his defence lawyer arguing that Gregory was brain damaged and had spent his childhood at special schools.

Malaysia proceeded with the execution despite appeals for clemency by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Its government last week pledged to abolish the death penalty. The change is expected within weeks and is likely to reprieve more than 1,200 criminals on death row.